Thursday, June 17, 2010
Last week I mentioned that the Christian believer should behave like a Samurai. This was done in the context of being fearless in the service of your Master, Jesus Christ. As Samurai served his Master with his life. The Samurai did not fear death. The only thing a true Samurai feared was to dishonor his Master. The Samurai would rather perform ritual suicide rather than dishonor his Master and thereby himself.
Like the Samurai we believers have a Master. The believer’s freedom is not a freedom to do what you like. It is not a freedom that is to be abused, or one that carries no consequences. Jesus didn’t just pay for our freedom and let us lose to run wild. He actually made a transfer of ownership. From slaves to sin, to slaves of Christ. Humans, no matter how free they think they are, all have a Master. The question is not whether you serve somebody, but who do you serve?
As Bob Dylan sang:
“…you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody”
We are all born slaves to sin. Slaves to a cruel master.
Eph 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (satan),3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Jesus bought us out of slavery to sin at a heavy price. If you accept his payment you now belong to him, hence you should be his servant and be obedient to him as your new Master.
2Co 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
1Co 7:22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ's slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.19I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
Since believers are not free to do what they like, but actually belong to Christ. They should be like the Samurai, fearlessly loyal to their Master. Ok, now I don’t want to rain on the parade, but put down the Katana for a minute. While we may dream and imagine ourselves as faithful Samurai fighting a spiritual battle for our Lord and Savior, the truth is that we are more like a RONIN.
A Ronin is a master-less samurai. A Samurai that due to the death of his master or after a loss of his Master’s favor or privileged is left on his own, to do as he likes. The word Ronin literally means “wave man”. A term used for a servant who flees or deserts his master’s land. Due to a lack of a Master, Ronin sought employment as mercenaries or served several lords demonstrating no loyalty. Some became robbers and thieves and others joined in uprisings against other feudal lords(Masters).
I think Christians tend to behave more like the Ronin. They may have been a loyal Samurai to his Master (Jesus), but due to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, they desert their Master in order to fulfill their personal desires. Thereby, Christians, can be like the Ronin, double minded, unstable in all his ways, like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind, a “wave man.”
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
It’s hard to be a Samurai, while its easy to be a Ronin. The world is tempting, we are naturally attracted to sin, and sin can even be pleasurable for a season. The world system with its nonstop propaganda machine, TV, Movies, Magazines, Music, Video Games, etc..., glamorizes the Ronin. It portrays him as a hero, a rebel without a cause, some sort of an anti-establishment freedom fighter. But it’s all lies, a Ronin is not a hero, he has no Honor, he is lawless, and he is definitely not free. The Ronin serves the worse Masters a man can have… himself, the world, and satan. He is a son of disobedience, much like we are without Christ. Without Christ we are rebels serving ourselves and our desires for pleasure. With Christ we are justified and made righteous, we are made Honorable. Not because of anything we may have done, but because of what our Master has done. His Honor is imputed on us. And like the Samurai we must defend our Master’s Honor with our lives.
So why after being justified and raised in Honor by our Master (Jesus Christ) do we rebel and become double minded, a “wave man” like the Ronin. I think it is because we lose focus. We stop looking at Jesus and start looking at ourselves, our desires, and the circumstances around us and before you know it we are drowning in storm filled seas.
Mt 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."29 So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
A tale of a Samurai and a Ronin.
Judas: The Ronin
Judas Iscariot was one of the original twelve apostles. He followed Jesus through his Ministry and appeared to be a loyal servant of the Lord. The other apostles had no suspicion and no apparent reason to doubt Judas dedication and loyalty to the Lord. But at some point Judas became a Ronin, he deserted his real Master (Jesus) and sought his own agenda.
John 12:3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
In the pursuit of his own agenda Judas became a mercenary and started to serve a counterfeit Master (satan) for monetary gain.
Luke 22:3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money.
Judas betrayed his true Master and in realization of what he had done he could not live with himself and ended up committing suicide. Since then the name of Judas has always represented a traitor. A man willing to sacrifice his Master in order to fulfill his own desires. A man without Honor, a Ronin.
Acts 1:18 With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.
Paul: The Samurai
When Paul the Apostle accepted Jesus as his Lord and King he became his faithful servant. Everything Paul did or said was in order to Honor his Master. Yet, like us, Paul had to deal with temptation and our sinful nature/desires.
Rom 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Rom 7:19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Rom 7:20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Rom 7:21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. Rom 7:22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; Rom 7:23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. Rom 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Unlike Judas, Paul did not give in to his wordly and fleshly desires. Paul did not dishonor or betray his Master. Instead, like a faithful Samurai, Paul looked up to his Master and in selfless service was determined to uphold his Honor.
Rom 7:25 Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
We need to stop behaving like a Ronin and emulate the example Paul set for us. Paul set aside all he had and left behind all he was in his pursuit of faithfully serving the Lord. Paul avoided serving a counterfeit master by dying to self and keeping his eyes on his true Master. Like Paul, we should behave like a true Samurai, faithfully, selflessly, and honorably serving our Master until our last day here on Earth.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.